In France, the media are shaking their heads at the views, some of them frankly anti-human, reflected in polls taken among high school students. In Germany, meanwhile, the current models of upbringing, generalized from the basic school in the last decades, are being called into question. Not just the educational and school model, but the whole ideology of upbringing is proving to be socially and humanly destructive.
Table of Contents
- Identitarianism comes to high school
- “Indifference” towards a dreadful crime
- Identitarianism, the appeal of authoritarianism and parenting
- The incompetence to offer a consistent critique of parenting
Identitarianism comes to high school
It is an accepted fact, though not usually acknowledged, that the educational system multiplies class differences and that, reform after reform, it becomes less and less capable of providing a general basic training to the population. In France for instance, over two thirds of 11-year-old pupils do not understand what “1/2” is or implies.
What the French ruling classes did not expect was that their tinkering with identitarianism would so soon produce the breakdown of the universalist ideology promoted by the French state itself. And what is even worse: the rise of an openly anti-social variant of its own dehumanizing morality.
Read also: Their and our need for school, 14/10/2020
“Indifference” towards a dreadful crime
It has now been one year since the beheading of a teacher who attempted to discuss the cartoons of Muhammad with his students. In the bigger picture, this crime became an episode of the struggle between the French state, the Muslim Brotherhood and their imperialist patrons. But the media emphasis today is about trying to emphasize that “French society changed out of shock”, so the media commissioned polls on how the students understood the killing. But when they got to know the results, they shockingly stared at them.
52% of students favor the public use of religious symbols in classrooms, 38% favor allowing families to enforce the wearing of burkini by girls in physical education class, 37% favor segregating men and women so they can’t overlap in municipal swimming pools.
For their part 49% of the teachers declared having self-censored in class for fear of incidents related to religious beliefs, 27% having suffered them in physical education class, 26% in classes on secularism and 25% in courses on sex education, equality between sexes or criticism of gender stereotypes.
But the hardest hit of this entire battery of surveys came when asked directly about the beheading murder of Professor Samuel Paty.
20% of French students declare themselves “indifferent” to the crime. The figure is all the more important in that by showing solidarity with the murderer they would be committing a crime. “Indifference” to the question is also the slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood.
But make no mistake, 60% of those who took this stance were not Muslims. Sociologists speak of identitarianism as a generational characteristic which they blame on the “Americanization” of the attitudes of the new generation.
Because another thing becoming clear is that there is a generational rift in the nebulous world of opinion: twice as many younger people are affected by religious identitarianism as adults.
When the age range is extended to 30 the result is a not very pleasant portrait of a resentful youth with sympathy for local chieftains and militarism, in search of authority figures, who are convinced they are the main victims of Covid and have suffered a great injustice that they will pay for their whole life.
Identitarianism, the appeal of authoritarianism and parenting
It is no secret that current parenting, promoted among parents by TV series, a huge specialized literature and from the schools themselves, looks at children as sovereign consumers to be satisfied. Parents are invited to “negotiate” with children from the earliest years of life and include them as equals in basic, everyday family decisions… while “freeing” them from traditional children’s chores: from making their bed or cleaning their room to taking care of younger siblings or achieving certain school results.
That is, children are burdened with responsibilities for collective decision making that they cannot fully understand while, by not encouraging their practical autonomy and exempting them from responsibilities within their reach (from tying their shoes to going to school on their own), they are denied the opportunity to integrate into the family community through contribution.
This view of parenting reflects bourgeois values 100%, in fact it looks like the typical CEO view: real worth lies decision-taking; freedom and personal recognition are guaranteed only if kept as separate as possible from collective work.
In the practice of parenting, however, this is an infallible formula for producing a permanent dissatisfaction in children that they will hardly know how to manage without frustration.
On reaching adolescence, this feeling crystallizes as alienation from the family group and a feeling of lack of referents. According to a recent study of Spanish youth, while 56% of young people feel “truly appreciated” by at least one of their parents, only 22% believe that one of their parents has helped them “discover what they want to do with their life.”
Some authors and studies link these kinds of results to the growing appeal of identitarianism, authoritarianism and militarism for young people reflected in surveys in countries such as France, the US and Britain. The reality is evidently more complex and transcends the realm of “opinion”, more or less malleable by the ideology that is showered on children and young people. But it is nonetheless significant for the association to be openly established.
The incompetence to offer a consistent critique of parenting
Thus, the search for alternative models of education and upbringing is widespread, based on the recognition of a large number of these symptoms. In Germany, the search for alternative models in exotic agricultural communities relatively untouched by the spread of the terminal individualism with has been poured on recent generations by the media and school is having a major impact.
Children want to help. You can see this very clearly in young children: they want to participate everywhere and help their parents. But in the West we find it annoying when the child messes up and delays our routines. “Go play, your time will come,” we often say. Our children stop offering their help around the age of six or seven. They have learned that folding laundry and cooking are not their responsibility.
Maya parents react differently from the beginning, they are happy that their child wants to get involved and start teaching them to work and assigning them small tasks. This increases the children’s willingness to help and teaches them how to do the day to day jobs that come with the family. I have seen many helpful, hardworking, and attentive children there.Michaeleen Douclef at Spiegel
The journalist and pedagogue rejects “the segregated child’s world showered with activities and toys,” the “endless rounds of negotiation” to have them tie their shoes, and the permanent, guilt-ridden attention economy of the parenting discourse.
With this attitude we are largely ruining the education we give them. We are also doing our children a disservice, making them unhappy and not preparing them well to face the adult world. Children yearn to belong and participate. In the communities we visited, each family member had a responsibility towards the family. The children also played a lot. But first they did their work.Michaeleen Douclef at Spiegel
These kinds of criticisms of parenting are fundamentally correct or at least are honest, just as correct are the warning bells about the emotional fragility and sense of loneliness they produce in the leap to adolescence and beyond.
However, the very focus on alternatives, the “looking back” – the pre-capitalist past – and outward – peasant communities thousands of miles from the writer’s home – approach reveal the extent to which the authors themselves and the media that disseminate them render invisible the very social reality they live in.
In the United States, the author’s country of residence, sociological studies point out year after year that the parenting model, relatively homogeneous until the 1990s, has been fracturing along class lines ever since, at the same rate as the increase in precarization.
The reason is that workers’ children can’t afford the lack of autonomy when parents string together jobs with impossible schedules. And families cannot revolve around extraordinarily care-dependent children and infantilized youth alienated from the collective situation. The most basic community is the last hold of the working-class family. Adopting the child-rearing theories of a drifting petty bourgeoisie can only be destructive.
Read also: Towards a Communist Conception of Education, 20/11/2020